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Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

While meditating on John 3:36 I thought about what “believe” really means, especially when in the first part of the verse it speaks of believing in Jesus and the second part speaks of obeying Him.     

“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life.  Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.” (John 3:36 NLT)

All who “believe in” (trust in, rely upon, swear by) Jesus have eternal life.  However, those who do not obey (comply, submit, follow orders, heed) Jesus will never have eternal life, but remain under God’s judgment.  Today, we have such a lenient view of what “believe” means.  I believe the sky is blue, grass is green, Obama is President, I need to lose weight.  These beliefs do not necessarily cause me to jump into action.  When we speak of believing in Jesus, this is a much deeper commitment.  By believing in Him, I am saying I agree with His teachings AND will endeavor to the best of my abilities to follow them.

Christians who have said “the sinner’s prayer”, but continue to lie, cheat, engage in adultery and promiscuity, slander, gossip, and worry about everything need to really look at their heart and think about whether they really do believe in Jesus or are just trying to use Him as a “fire escape” from hell.  I, at one time, believed the “say the prayer and you’re good forever” mentality.  I came to know Jesus in a personal way in a church that taught that.  But as I’ve grown as a Christian, read my Bible, and listened to other teachers, I realize there is a lot more to it than just “the prayer”. 

Following Jesus is a whole way of thinking, a lifestyle of trusting God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth.  One sin God says he hates most is sowing discord among a family (Proverbs 6:16-19) which is usually done by gossip.  But in Christendom, this is a “small” sin compared to things like murder and stealing.  How many messages do we hear on gossiping?  Not many.  How about gluttony?  Whoa boy, even less here.  I’m not saying we have to be perfect, but we Christians have a real knack for deciding which sins are really bad (usually the ones we don’t commit or at least don’t commit often). 

As I have studied more of God’s Word including the Old Testament, I have found that almost all of what Jesus taught was from the Old Testament.  When Jesus talked about reading something in the Scriptures or the Prophets, He wasn’t referring to the New Testament.  It was what the Church calls the Old Testament!  None of the New Testament was written at this point.  Even when Paul speaks of the Scriptures, he is referring to the Old Testament.  We as the body of Christ, need to take a whole new look at what we have discounted as out-of-date and begin studying the bible that Jesus had – the Old Testament.

How about getting back to “believing” in Jesus by accepting His teachings, living by them, and stop justifying ourselves or our church as not as sinful as someone else.  When we stand before God, He’s not going to let us off the hook if we say, “Well, that’s what my preacher said.”  We are to study God’s word ourselves and know what it says.  If you can’t understand the version of the Bible you have now, get one you can.  If your church is a “KJV only” church and you can’t understand this version, how’s it going to help you?  Let’s get real, people.  God wants us to understand His word.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.  That’s one of His jobs (John 16:12-15).

I have certainly not “arrived” and never will until I die, but I do keep working toward the goal of fulfilling God’s purpose for my life.  I welcome you as a traveling companion along this journey with me.  God bless.

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